Lack of Doctors and Drugs Causing a Crisis at Bududa Hospital

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Patients at Bududa Hospital are languishing without care because of an acute shortage of medical staff and a lack of essential drugs. The 100-bed hospital in the eastern Uganda district serves residents from Bududa, Manafwa, Sironko and even Mbale, which has its own regional referral hospital. The facility used to have seven doctors, however only two remain. The Medical Superintendent, Dr. Godfrey Mulekwa, says he is currently the only doctor on duty at Bududa Hospital. The second doctor is on maternity leave. Dr, Mulekwa admits that he is overwhelmed with treating more than 300 patients at the hospital. He says the situation has been made worse by the fact that Bududa Hospital only has 37% of the number of nurses required for a facility of its size. In the wards, numerous patients are lying in agony unattended. The hospital is in a poor condition with no windows or protection against mosquitoes. If patients are lucky enough to see a doctor, they may be given some medicine. However in most cases family members are forced to go searching for drugs in nearby towns. Geoffrey Natubu, the Bududa LC5 vice chairperson, says the district has attempted three times to recruit medical doctors to work in Bududa Hospital, but no one applied for the jobs. //Cue in: iWe have advertised #i Cue out i#not here in Bududai // Michael Wanditi, the Bududa Secretary for Finance, says the hospital's drug shortage was caused by limited funding. He says the hospital only receives 240 million shillings annually from the Ministry of Health for purchase of drugs.